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The Management of Atlantic Fish Stocks: Beyond the 200-Mile Limit
Date: 2007 (Interim)
Chair: Hon. William Rompkey (NL)
Deputy Chair: Hon. Janis G. Johnson (MB)
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The Committee has undertaken an overall study of the federal government’s new and evolving policy framework for managing Canada’s fisheries and oceans. Among its 11 recommendations, this interim report suggests a number of reforms to the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) which regulates Atlantic fisheries beyond the 200-mile fisheries limit.
The report also states that Canada should support an international moratorium on high-seas bottom trawling outside regulated areas. Such a moratorium could help protect bottom habitat in high-seas areas that have no Regional Fishery Management Organization (RFMO). As well, the report recommends that the government initiate a scientific review and fish stock rebuilding plan, and encourages it to approach the European Union, the other major fishing party in areas regulated by NAFO, for direct discussions on cooperation in strengthening high-seas fishery management.
The report and witness testimony on shortcomings in the proposed new NAFO Convention sparked media coverage and controversy. The government responded with some changes to protect Canada’s interests, but too few to satisfy opponents alerted by the Senate's study. The report is now fuelling debate on whether, and with what modifications, Canada should approve the new treaty arrangement.
Canada’s New and Evolving Policy Framework for Managing Fisheries and Oceans
Date: 2005 (Interim)
Chair: Hon. Gerald Comeau (NS)
Deputy Chair: Hon. Elizabeth Hubley (PEI)
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As part of its overall study on Canada’s new and evolving policy framework for managing fisheries and oceans, the Committee examined how changes in fisheries policy affect coastal communities and their inhabitants. Initially work focused on ownership in the fisheries, in particular individual catch quotas in the form of “individual quotas” (IQs) and “individual transferable quotas” (ITQs) – a form of private ownership of fish stocks. Attention was also given to the use of 'trust agreements' on the Atlantic Coast.
The report also discusses fisheries management regimes in other jurisdictions, such as those in New Zealand. It concludes that the current federal policy framework does not take the need to protect and promote economic well-being of rural and Aboriginal communities on Canada’s maritime coasts into account. Outlining how the policy needs to be reworked, the report contains 9 recommendations.
The Committee's report helped fuel a push for major licensing reforms by owner-operators. As the report had highlighted, independent fishermen’s licences were often falling under the control of other interests with deep pockets by means of 'under-the-table' agreements. Efforts to curb this trend came to fruition in 2007 when new licensing regulations were issued. The government formally responded to the Senate in November 2005, promising to increase socio-economic research and analytical capacities in the course of pursuing its Fisheries Management Renewal initiative.